EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Cleveland guard Sasha Pavlovic returned from a 23-game absence because of a sprained left foot and was in the Cavaliers' starting lineup Wednesday night against the Nets.
Pavlovic was hurt Jan. 23 in a victory over Washington. Despite that long layoff, coach Mike Brown said he went with his ``gut'' in deciding to put Pavlovic right back in the lineup.
``Sometimes I'd start a guy if he was out a couple of games or something like that,'' Brown said. ``Obviously Sasha's been out longer, but you know it's just a feel and we don't have that many games to kind of sit back and ease anybody in, so it's best to throw him in the mix and let him get his feet wet as quickly as possible and see what happens.''
Brown said he wasn't told he needed to monitor Pavlovic's minutes, and he had no expectations beyond just wanting Pavlovic, averaging 7.3 points in 38 games, to play hard.
The Cavs are still without Zydrunas Ilgauskas (back) and Daniel Gibson (sprained left ankle), and Ben Wallace joined them on the sidelines with back spasms. Joe Smith started alongside LeBron James and Anderson Varejao in the frontcourt.
``You have one guy come back and you have another guy go out,'' James said before the game. ``It's been like that for us the last two, three months.''
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